What is pelvic inflammatory disease?

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Overview

Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. PID can cause scars in the fallopian tubes. This can lead to chronic pelvic pain. It can also make it hard for you to get pregnant in the future.

PID can usually be treated with antibiotic pills. Any sex partners need to be treated too. It's important to take all the medicine as prescribed. PID can cause serious health problems if you and your sex partner or partners don't complete treatment.

PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Having one STI increases your risk for other STIs. Taking steps to prevent STIs can help you avoid getting PID again. For example, using condoms when you have sex can reduce your risk.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. If it isn't treated, PID can cause scar tissue in the fallopian tubes. This can lead to chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and other problems.

PID may not cause any symptoms. When it does, the most common symptom is pain in the lower belly. It's often described as cramping or a dull and constant ache. PID may also cause vaginal bleeding after sex, abnormal vaginal discharge, irregular menstrual bleeding, or a fever.

PID is usually treated with antibiotics. Any sex partners also need to be treated to avoid spreading the infection.

After you've had PID, you are more likely to get it again. PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Taking steps to prevent STIs, such as using condoms, can help you avoid getting PID again.

What are the symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

The most common symptom of PID is pain in the lower belly. The pain is often described as cramping or a dull and constant ache. It may be worse during vaginal sex, during bowel movements, or when you urinate.

You could also have:

  • A fever.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge. You may have more discharge than usual or discharge that is yellow, brown, or green.
  • Vaginal bleeding after sex.
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding.

You may notice symptoms more during your period or the week after your period.

How is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) treated?

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotic pills to treat PID. Any sex partners will also need to be treated. If PID is severe, if you're pregnant, or if you don't get better by taking antibiotics at home, you may need to be treated in the hospital.

How can you help prevent pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

Your risk of chronic pelvic pain and infertility increases each time you have PID, so it's important to prevent future infections.

  • Use a condom each time you have sex. This can reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection that might lead to PID.
  • Avoid douching. Douching may increase your risk for pelvic infections.

How is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. You may have tests for common causes of PID. Your blood and vaginal discharge may be tested to look for signs of infection. You may also have an ultrasound to look for other possible causes of your symptoms.

How can you care for yourself when you have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

Take antibiotics as directed. Rest until your symptoms have improved. If you're not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine. Any sex partners need to be treated to avoid spreading the infection. Don't have sex until you and your sex partner or partners have completed treatment.

What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. If it's not treated right away, PID can cause scars in the fallopian tubes. This can make it harder to get pregnant. It can also cause other long-term problems, like pelvic pain or tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.

What causes pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

PID is caused by bacteria. When the cervix is infected, bacteria from the vagina can more easily get into and infect the uterus and fallopian tubes. The most common causes of PID are gonorrhea and chlamydia, which are sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It may also be caused by other types of bacteria.

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